Tomato Gazpacho

This cold soup originated in Spain and traditionally was made of stale bread, olive oil, and garlic blended with water or vinegar and pounded in a mortar.  Over time this soup evolved into different varieties, the most popular being a tomato based.  Also gazpacho has become a generic term for cold soups with any vegetable or fruit base.

Great when the weather is hot and the tomato season is at its peak, this soup is very easy to prepare and doesn’t require any cooking. It’s hearty and flavorful yet amazingly refreshing, since it is served chilled.  I looked at many different recipes and ended combining several to come up with the one I liked best.

4 large tomatoes
1 bell pepper
1 cucumber
1 small yellow or red onion
2 garlic cloves
2 - 3 Tbsp. vinegar (white or red wine)
¼ extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Skin 3 of the tomatoes by blanching them in boiling water for about a minute until their skins start to wrinkle and split.  Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water.  Once cooled, peel back the tomato skins. 
For the base, liquefy the skinned tomatoes, 1 of the garlic cloves, vinegar and olive oil in a blender until completely smooth.  If you don’t have a high-speed blender you many want to strain the base after blending. 
Dice the remaining tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, and onion.  Mince the garlic clove. Combine all the vegetables into the base in a large bowl, mix well and chill before serving.  The longer the gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.  I like to serve this soup with sliced avocado and cilantro garnish.